Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Bhikshuni Anyatara: Out in a Field

I was young when I left home.

And for years I rambled around.

My practice —sitting, walking, and hoping.

At first everything was new.

I didn’t notice my skin drying up or my hair turning grey.

Then one morning, there I was, an old woman.

Where had I gotten in all those years on the Path?

That night I slept out in a field, and it rained.

I felt like I belonged there, miserable and alone in the mud.

In the morning, I went to the nearest monastery and threw myself down.

A nun took me in and taught me.

This body, this mind, this world. Where they come from, where they go.

What they are, what they are not.

That night I went out to sit in the field, and it rained.

I felt like I belonged there, every drop of water telling me I was home.

Don’t worry, my sisters.

When the road reaches its end, you’ll know it.


This verse is from the Therigatha, a Buddhist text consisting of a collection of 73 short poems of women who were senior nuns. The poems date from a three hundred year period, starting in the late 6th century BCE. It is the companion text to the Theragatha, verses attributed to senior monks. It is the earliest known collection of women’s literature composed in India.

Source: Great Middle Way

One comment on “Bhikshuni Anyatara: Out in a Field

  1. kim4true
    July 16, 2021

    “I felt like I belonged there, miserable and alone in the mud.” What a stark way of talking about how we feel as we age.

    Liked by 2 people

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